Unidentified body found after HK yacht feared sunk by Typhoon Mujigae: Philippine coast guard

Filipino fishermen arrive in Manila after being rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard, on Oct 5, 2015.
Filipino fishermen arrive in Manila after being rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard, on Oct 5, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

MANILA (AFP) - A yacht crewed by four Westerners and a Filipino is feared sunk after Typhoon Mujigae hit the South China Sea last week, the Philippine coast guard said on Tuesday (Oct 6).

An unidentified body and a life jacket were spotted on Tuesday on an oil-slicked sea near the 18.2m Europa's last-known position, said coast guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo.

"A Philippine coast guard auxiliary plane... found indications that the yacht sank at the vicinity," he said in an interview on local ABS-CBN television network.

"They saw a lifeless body floating and a life jacket and traces of oil."

He said Hong Kong's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre told the Filipino agency it has sent three vessels to search the area, 426km west of the northern Philippine city of Laoag.

Mr Balilo's office issued a statement naming the missing crew members as Britons Robin Wyatt and Brian Turner, Mr Alan Lundy of the United States, Canadian Harry Taylor and Filipino Rudulph Bolloloz.

The yacht had apparently been trying to steer clear of the storm and was heading toward the city of Vigan 70km south of Laoag, it added.

A Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club statement said the Hong Kong-registered boat was owned by Mr Wyatt, whom it described as a yacht broker and experienced sailor who had hoped to reach the Filipino port of Subic Bay on Monday.

"The boat is new and on board are the skipper Robin Wyatt and four other crew members, all of whom are very experienced seamen; each having crossed the (South) China Sea a number of times," it added.

Mujigae killed seven people after hitting southern China on Sunday.

Mr Balilo said the storm earlier killed three people in the Philippines while 13 fishermen are missing.